Thursday, July 7th to Tuesday July 12th
Thursday: Everyone got up before the sun so we could leave the house at 4:30am, which means that my friends back in Canada had only just finished their dinner from the previous day, which means that this is too early. But, it means that the roads are fantastically free of other drivers, and we arrived in Derby in time to help my cousin’s kid get to school. We had a very relaxing day with the other kid, who is walking but not talking, and we went to the park for a picnic lunch and some play time (and an icecream!). Home again in time to pick up from school, then hanging out and playing and dinner and bed.
Friday: My cousin didn’t work today, so she, her brother, and I hung out and sorted out the kids for school and play time. Her kid was supposed to have a sports day at school, but it got cancelled.
Saturday: Today we went to Sudbury to see the Museum of Childhood and Sudbury Hall. After we arrived, we discovered my cousin had left her pass at home, so her husband drove back and got it while we waited. Eventually, we made it inside and toured the museum. It’s very obvious you are getting older when toys you still own are showing up in museums.
After lunch in the cafe, we walked around the corner to Sudbury Hall. It is a very ornate stately home, and the ceilings are so high, that in some rooms, the room is several meters taller than it is long or wide. Most of the rooms have period furniture in them. My favourite room was one on the second floor that is as wide as the entire house, called the Long Gallery. It is 51 meters long. Sudbury Hall appeared in Pride and Prejudice (1995).
After seeing the hall, we walked through the gardens and over to a small church. It was exactly what I think of when I think of a small country stone church, and I loved it.
Sunday: My cousin wasn’t feeling well, so her husband, her brother, the kids, and I went to a farm where they make delicious ice cream, and have some animals for people to feed and look at. They had an enormous rabbit named Arthur, who is a Continental Giant rabbit and was almost a meter long stretched out. There was also a new calf, and a monstrous goat as big as a donkey. After we got home and had some lunch, my cousin’s husband took her brother to the train station. We played in the sprinkler in the backyard during a brief window of sun.
Monday: Sports Day! We went to the school to watch (I mostly ran around with the other kid), and then home for lunch. After lunch, it was more fun times, playing in the garden and eating raspberries off the bush.
Tuesday: Caught a lift with my cousin into town, and walked to the bus station. While waiting there, I received a marriage proposal. Apparently, because neither he nor I were married, it was “no problem.” I eventually excused myself to check on the bus times, and when I returned I stayed hidden behind the bus shelter. I attached myself to a young lady who was also traveling alone, and we looked out for each other until we parted ways at Birmingham bus station. The next part of my travel was to Birmingham airport, where I caught my flight to Dublin. I arrived around 4 pm, and my landlady picked me up.
And so it begins!